Six Major League Baseball Players and five Baseball Hall of Fame members have been selected as finalists for the second annual Bob Feller Act of Valor Award. Nominees were evaluated on their baseball accomplishments, integrity and character, service to our country, and community involvement. In addition, the United States Navy has provided nominations for the Navy Chief Petty Officer awardee. One player, one Hall of Famer, and one Navy Chief will be selected by the Bob Feller Act of Valor Award Foundation as the winners, and will be honored in a Veterans Day ceremony at the U.S. Navy Memorial in Washington, D.C.
The 2014 Bob Feller Act of Valor Award finalists for the Major League Player award are:
- Adam LaRoche, Washington Nationals: supports Wounded Warriors Project at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center outside of Washington, D.C., provides game tickets for veterans, and participates in USO tours for forward-deployed troops in Afghanistan.
- Jonathan Lucroy, Milwaukee Brewers: supports veterans treated at the Milwaukee VA hospital, hosts wounded heroes at monthly games and provides scholarships to military families.
- Charlie Morton, Pittsburgh Pirates: founded "Morton's Military Initiative" and partners with Pirates Charities, Operation Troop Appreciate and Wounded Warrior Project in several initiatives via monetary donations and events supporting our military.
- Dustin Pedroia, Boston Red Sox: founded "Pedroia's Platoon," visits hospitalized veterans and serves as spokesperson for the Red Sox Foundation's Home Base Program.
- Nick Swisher, Cleveland Indians: participates in USO tours to Afghanistan for forward-deployed troops and is active in the Wounded Warrior Project and Operation Homefront. Nick and his wife, Joanna, visited troops in Afghanistan during Thanksgiving holiday 2011.
- Brad Ziegler, Arizona Diamondbacks: founded "Pastime for Patriots," visits with troops in Africa and on Arizona and San Diego road trips, and supports Operation Shower.
On July 4 at Progressive Field in Cleveland, the United States Navy, Air Force, Marines and Coast Guard will join Mrs. Anne Feller (Bob Feller's widow) and Bob Feller Act of Valor Award Foundation representatives in honoring these worthy nominees in a special ceremony prior to the Indians-Royals game at 7:05PM.
On July 5, Quilts of Honor East will present handmade quilts to the Indians' Nick Swisher and Royals' Billy Butler prior to 7:05pm game. The mission of Quilts of Honor is to bestow a universal symbol and token of thanks, solace and remembrance to those who serve/have served or support those who serve/have served. All 12 BFAOVA nominees also will be presented a Quilt of Honor at some point during this 2014 MLB season. Quilts of Honor East is the east coast chapter of Quilts of Honor America LLC, which is headquartered in Valley Springs, Calif. Led by Director Gail Belmont, a former U.S. Army staff sergeant, Quilts of Honor has presented more than 1,700 quilts since 2010.
The six MLB finalists were chosen from a list of 12 nominees. In addition to the six finalists, the following players were nominated: Jay Bruce (Cincinnati Reds), Billy Butler (Kansas City Royals), Michael Cuddyer (Colorado Rockies), Sean Doolittle (Oakland A's), Mike Dunn (Miami Marlins) and Darren O'Day (Baltimore Orioles).
The 2014 Baseball Hall of Fame Nominees for the Bob Feller Act of Valor Award include:
- Johnny Bench (Cincinnati Reds Hall of Famer)
- Tommy Lasorda (Brooklyn/Los Angeles Dodgers)
- Monte Irvin (Newark Eagles/New York Giants)
- Whitey Ford (New York Yankees)
- Willie Mays (New York/San Francisco Giants)
"The Indians remain extremely grateful for Bob's contribution to our organization and this country, and are proud to share in the creation of this award, which focuses on three things Bob held most dear: the Cleveland Indians, the National Baseball Hall of Fame, and the United States Navy," said Bob DiBiasio, Indians Senior Vice President of Public Affairs. "We look forward to honoring these nominees for their display of high character and dedication to servicemen and women."
DiBiasio also noted that in addition to the annual awards, the foundation will use the Bob Feller story to teach the youth of today the lessons of citizenship, service to one's country, and sacrifice in times of great national need.
"Teaching the legacy of the greatest generation to the youngest generation will help instill in them the virtue of service to others, " DiBiasio said.
Last year's award winners were Hospital Corpsman Chief Petty Officer Garth Sinclair of the United States Navy, Hall of Famer Yogi Berra of the New York Yankees, and Cy Young Award-winning pitcher Justin Verlander of the Detroit Tigers. Chief Sinclair was recognized for 27 years of service to our nation and devoting thousands of off-duty hours to coaching youth sports; Berra for his military service in the US Navy during WWII including combat during the Normandy Invasion; and Verlander for his assistance in providing mental health services to returning vets and his significant financial contributions through his twin foundations, "Victory for Veterans" and "Wins for Warriors."
The Bob Feller Act of Valor Award was created by the Cleveland Indians, the United States Navy and the National Baseball Hall of Fame with the support of Anne Feller and the USS ALABAMA Battleship Commission to honor Bob Feller's legacy.